Ticket pickup debacle sours Hamilton NRL game

AARON GOILE
Last updated 10:19 20/05/2014
Anna Johnson, nrl tickets
Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ

DISGRUNTLED: Anna Johnson is pursuing a refund of her ticket after she didn’t get into Sunday’s Bulldogs v Warriors NRL match at Waikato Stadium until near halftime because of a massive queue for ticket pickups.

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The Warriors' failed comeback in the dying stages of Sunday's match against the Bulldogs capped off a frustrating outing for Hamilton woman Anna Johnson.

While her team fell just short in their 16-12 defeat at Waikato Stadium, Johnson and her parents were able to watch only the second half after having to wait in a queue for an hour despite pre-purchasing tickets.

Johnson bought tickets off Ticketek's website on Friday and turned up to collect them from gate one between 3.30pm and 3.40pm, with the match kicking off at 4.05pm.

But with a massive line for pickups and just one staffer working at the window when the trio arrived, Johnson had to watch the irony of game-day buyers getting their tickets and heading into the ground well ahead of her.

"There were about four people selling them and only one giving out [pre-purchased tickets], which was just so frustrating," she said.

Johnson said many people were in the same boat and she felt for the children who could hear the game but couldn't see any of the action.

When she got to the front of the queue Johnson told the staffer she wasn't keen on going in any more and asked if there was any way she could get a refund because she had missed a big chunk of the match. But Johnson said the staffer rudely didn't respond to her question.

When she finally entered the ground, just before halftime, Johnson said her group had to move people from their seats. Other people saw the seats vacant and thought Johnson and her group weren't turning up.

Ticketek New Zealand managing director Brendon Bainbridge was disappointed to hear of Johnson's experience.

"I would definitely say if you're there half an hour [early] you should get in for game time," he said, adding that there would have been more than one window for pickups, with the other possibly at another gate.

"It doesn't sound good. But I don't understand why that would have happened to her. There's a lot of staff and there would have been at least two windows for pickup. At some events we don't have any dedicated windows, you can just go to any window and pick your tickets up.

"But I think for this event there was a lot of tickets to be picked up that weren't purchased, like the Bulldogs might have had competition winners and things like that and you have to go to a certain window," Bainbridge said.

He also said that the print-at-home option was in fact available and between 65-80 per cent of the tickets coming through the gates were issued that way.

He re-iterated that there were different ways to get tickets, including having them delivered to a smart phone, which helped reduce delays on match-day.

As for a refund, Bainbridge said Ticketek wasn't authorised to refund tickets on the spot, because they didn't own them, the Bulldogs did.

But there was a process which customers could go through.

Johnson yesterday began that by emailing Ticketek via their website, though by yesterday evening she still hadn't heard back.

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- Waikato Times

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